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Full text of "Men Of Mathematics"

E2*  OF MATHEMATICS
signifying the great journal he founded, the first three volumes
of which contained twenty-two of Abel's memoirs. The journal
made Abel, or at least made him more widely known to Conti-
nental mathematicians than he could ever have been without
it; Abel's great work started the journal off with a bang that
was heard round the mathematical world; and finally the
journal made Crelle. This self-effacing amateur of mathematics
deserves more than a passing mention. His business ability and
his sure instinct for picking collaborators who had real mathe-
matics in them did more for the progress of mathematics in the
nineteenth century than half a dozen learned academies.
Crelle himself was a self-taught lover of mathematics rather
than a creative mathematician. By profession he was a civil
engineer. He early rose to the top in his work, built the first
railroad in Germany, and made a comfortable stake. In his
leisure he pursued mathematics as something more than a
hobby. He himself contributed to mathematical research before
and after the great stimulus to German mathematics which his
Journal fur die reine und angewandte Mathematik (Journal for
pure and applied Mathematics) gave on its foundation in 1826.
This is Crelle^s greatest contribution to the advancement of
mathematics.
The Journal was the first periodical in the world devoted
exclusively to mathematical research. Expositions of old work
were not welcomed. Papers (except some of Crelle's own) were
accepted from anyone, provided only the matter was new, true,
and of sufficient Importance* - an intangible requirement - to
merit publication. Regularly once every three months from
1826 to the present day 'Crelle' has appeared with its sheaf of
new mathematics. In the chaos after the World War 'Crelle5
tottered and almost went down, but was sustained by sub-
scribers from all over the world who were unwilling to see this
great monument to a more tranquil civilization than our own
obliterated. To-day hundreds of periodicals are devoted either
wholly or in considerable part to the advancement of pure and
applied mathematics. How many of them will survive our next
outburst of epidemic insanity is anybody's guess.
When Abel arrived hi Berlin in 1825 Crelle had just about
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